Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

History of RYLA at Royal Leamington Spa Rotary Club

The photo was taken at the 2015 District 1060 Rotary Youth Leadership Award programme held at the prestigious Warwickshire College in Moreton Morrell near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on 19th - 24th July was a huge success thanks to Alex Green our Chief Instructor and John Hughes and Mike Cook with their years of RYLA experience

Unfortunately Alex in photo below with Sareta from Spain and Mike, left of photo above are no longer with us. John is still working with young people Internationally. This RYLA, although a hugely popular programme with International students including the Martial Arts format is now closed. This webpage remains as a tribute to three dedicated Rotarians in spite of District Officials

N.B. Links and downloads may not open on iPads and iPhones

10 nations were represented on RYLA in 2016 including students from Denmark: Poland: USA: Czech Republic: France: Italy: Germany and Egypt besdies achievers from the UK.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards iwas based around a Wing Chun martials arts experience with our professional instructor, Paul Allen together with a sports coaching experience by our resident sports coach. The programme also concentrated on self-motivation, mentoring, leadership, team-building, competitions, sport and cultural activities, including a debate on BRexit where all the students voted to STAY and none to LEAVE

The 2014 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as seen by Jakub from the Czech Republic - Click HERE

The District 1060 RYLA is'Leading the Way'  -  Experience Kate's trip on the 2012 RYLA programme - Click HERE


7 nations represented on the steps at Morton Hall - The WingChun experience proved very popular with the students

The Warwickshire College with its 244 hectare estate is located at the village of Moreton Morrell, 8 miles equidistant from Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon, in beautiful rural countryside. Moreton Hall is situated in the grounds and was built in the early part of this century by Charles T. Garland, an American whose interests lay in horses, real tennis and trees and although recently gutted by fire, it is now in the course of restoration

The new format allowed Rotary Clubs with twinning relations or contacts with overseas Rotary Clubs to offer the invitations direct. Rotary Clubs inviting students provided hosting for 5 days prior to and 5 days following the RYLA event

The helped enhance and foster International relations between Rotary Clubs in other countries in line with the 4th aspect of Rotary "The Advancement of International Understanding Goodwill and Peace". Support for twinning and encourage clubs to find students to take part in the Rotary Camps and Tours programmes or just a short term Youth Exchange. The RYLA Committee will offer help and advice wherever needed

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards was be based around a WingChun Martial Arts experience, concentrating on self-motivation, mentoring, leadership, competition, sport and cultural activities

The RYLA programme was run by a team of Rotarians who have many years experience with Rotary Youth programmes, especially RYLA and you may contact any of them at any time for advice.

Enquiries to John Hughes at

When vititing this website please click on the experiences of Jakub from 2014: Kate from 2012 and Maria from 2010

Welcome to the historic pages of the International Youth Week and RYLA on "Dream Catcher"

These events are now closed but this history page will be remain as a TESTIMONIAL to two of the best events EVER and so that the students taking part can remain in contact through the years

Amazingly the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards have come full circle and the new 2012 programme is once again based at the Warwickshire College at Moreton Morrell

International Youth Week 1955 to 2002

   Planning the next days activities        International students     Team with their RYLA certificates

The first International Youth Week was conceived in 1954/5 by the then Governor of District 106, Rotarian Harold Harman of the Rotary Club of Wednesbury to commemorate fifty years of the Rotary Movement

A ROTARY INTERNATIONAL Youth Exchange activity with a Rotary Youth Leadership Award for young men aged 16-21 from D1060 and D1210 and Countries in Europe and the Middle East

In 47 years the International Youth Week brought together over 1,000 young men from Europe and further afield matched with an equal number of young men from the UK, aged between 16 and 21, for a week of sporting and cultural activities thereby enhancing the fourth aspect of Rotary

The Advancement of International Understanding Goodwill and Peace

The International Youth Week Committee invited up to 36 young men from overseas and up to 36 young men from the two Rotary Districts of 1060 and 1210 to take part in the International Youth Week programme each year

  Three lads from Turkey               Table Tennis competition                          Time to relax           

The overseas students were looked after for the two weeks prior to the event in the homes of Rotarian hosts before taking part in the event held during the third week at the Warwickshire College, Moreton Morrell

The Last International Youth Week for Young Men was held between 12th and 20th July 2002. The activities of this week were staffed by experienced Rotarians and qualified Youth Workers who volunteered their services. This single sex event and was eventually closed by Rotarians whose priority was political correctness

The Warwickshire College with its 244 hectare estate is located at the village of Moreton Morrell, 8 miles equidistant from Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon, in beautiful rural countryside. Moreton Hall was built in the early part of this century by Charles T. Garland, an American whose interests lay in horses, real tennis and trees and although recently gutted by fire, it is now in the course of restoration

Those participating in the International Youth Week were accommodated in houses, each having eight single bedrooms, with its own wash hand basin. Toilet, bathing and shower facilities were on a shared basis. There are purpose built facilities for a variety of sports, including football; hockey; badminton; tennis; volley-ball; basket-ball and swimming. The college further includes a sports hall, areas for relaxation and attractive walks and Gardens

The Fountain on the lawn                             Morton Hall                               The Italian Garden

 Sporting activities between groups was on a competitive basis. Preparation of reports or projects with the general aim of showing how world events influenced the attitudes and outlook of the younger generation. Using audio and visual aids. Initiative tests intended to identify qualities of leadership and the concept of corporate planning and group discussions aimed at promoting better understanding of different cultures and ways of life

During all these activities the young men were continually monitored as to their leadership qualities in order to assess their suitability for a Rotary Youth Leadership Award ( RYLA ) based on their stay at the college. On the last night a concert was put on by the Students

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards on the Narrow Boat "Dream Catcher" 2002 to 2011

To commemorate the 100th year of Rotary a new International Rotary Youth Leadership Award was launched by Rotarian John Hughes of the Rotary Club of Royal Leamington Spa . Sadly the RYLA programme on Dream Catcher has come to an end after 7 wonderful years where we have given the experience of the canals to hundreds of youngsters though RYLA and our Young Carers programmes 


The RYLA programme received acclaim from Rotary International when it was launched in 2004 and although very different to other RYLA programmes, it qualified for Rotary Youth Leadership Award status. We wish to thank the Rotary International RYLA Committee for their continued support

"After reviewing your program, I believe that your submission certainly would qualify for the RYLA Certificate, and that you definitely have a unique venue in which to teach leadership, team-building, team-bonding, many cooperative skills, and all in the spirit of Rotary" (Mark Healy, Chairman of RYLA)

The first Rotary programme to use Dream Catcher was the International RYLA in 2005 for 8 students from Europe. Following on from this success the International RYLA in 2006 was combined with a RYLA programme for students from the UK. Click on the blue lines for links to the reports


The programmes were again extended in 2007 and besides the International and UK Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, we ran a RYLA for District 2430 in TurkeyWe understand this was the first time a District in the UK had organised a RYLA for an overseas District


During the trip Rtn. Erhan Bakir, Rtn John Hughes and our students from Turkey were involved in a 4 hour video shoot for the ITV programme "Waterworld" culminating in 4 minutes of PR for Rotary being televised in 2008


We again expanded our programmes on DreamCatcher by launching a programme on the Narrowboat for Young Carers. This new programme started in Spring 2009 in partnership with various Young Carers Associations and in 2012 transferred to the adventure park at Blackwell where to date we have provided over 300 young carers with a respite break  

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